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'Closure is very important' | Bexar County Medical Examiner works to identify victims in human smuggling tragedy

The ME is working with the consulates of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, just a month after assisting with the Uvalde mass shooting.

SAN ANTONIO — The Bexar County Medical Examiner is working to identify all 53 people found dead in a tractor trailer in San Antonio.

The ME just worked the Uvalde tragedy. Now they're working to ID the human lives taken in the deadliest human smuggling incident in our nation's history. It is going to take time to get families closure.

Meanwhile, the Mexican consulate said they've gotten close to a hundred calls from family members desperate for answers.

Tom Peine, with Bexar County, said right now of the 53 victims: 40 are male and 13 are female.

"Closure is very important," he said.

The ME is working with the consulates of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

"We have to confirm with these countries their consulates, and embassies are these the people," he said. "We have to wait to hear back from them. Once, we have that information then we can say yes this is the person."

The process could take several days if not longer. The ME is not only trying to identify each person, but also figure out the cause of death.

"All of this is done as expeditiously as possible," he said. "But that will not jeopardize the thoroughness and diligence of the process. Correct identification is really important so that the families know what happened to their loves ones."

KENS 5 asked if children are among the dead, Peine said there could be victims under 18, but none are young children. And with so many autopsies to complete, the Bexar County Medical Examiner expects help from Travis and Dallas counties in the coming days.

There had been reports the migrants were covered in steak seasoning possibly to try and hide their scent. However, the county told KENS 5 the medical examiner has not found any evidence of that at all.

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